This week, we’re going to stick with American classics since summer is almost here! Well, not really. It isn’t even spring yet. But it’s getting warm! And that’s enough to make anyone crave a good burger.
Burgers have been difficult items to give a veg spin too and they are fairly time consuming to make. We’ve tried making them several times, and while they’re really good, they just don’t hold together like a beef burger would.
The Beast Burger
Recently, we found about a company called Beyond Meat. They’re “dedicated to improving human health, positively impacting climate change, conserving natural resources and respecting animal welfare”. They create plant-based products to mimic the meat products that humans consume on a daily basis. You can read more about the company’s philosophy here.
This new way of looking at “meat” is taking hold all over the country, with vegan butchers popping up in different cities nationwide. Awesome stuff!
So today we are going to check out the Beast Burger. Matt and I cooked up several of these a few nights ago, after Cincinnati Bockfest and when a good friend was in town. He wasn’t a vegetarian, but he seemed to enjoy the veg burger. I love when people can keep an open mind about that stuff!
The hardest part about plant-based products that mimic meat is getting over the idea that they are going to be exactly the same. So I’ll say it: it wasn’t texturally or taste-wise exactly like beef. But it was pretty close. And it was damn good. It’s something you could give your family members and they wouldn’t notice the difference.
I typically have an aversion to “beef” plant-based products (I’ve found chicken and pork plant-based products to be spot on) because I just don’t feel like they’re similar to beef at all. And if they aren’t similar, what’s the point of eating them over just making a veggie meal? But these burgers were delicious.
My favorite part of eating plant-based items is how I feel afterward. We went to a vegan Indian buffet the other day and gorged ourselves. And afterward I felt full, but I didn’t feel sluggish. You know that feeling you get after you eat a huge steak and potatoes, or a massive burger? That “I need to sleep for the rest of the day” feeling? We NEVER get that as vegans. It’s great!
Now for the nutrition stuff! For your perusing pleasure, I’ve done a comparison of a 1/4lb Beast Burger and a 1/4lb, 80 lean/20 fat beef burger. These nutritional values will change if you go for a leaner burger (such as 90/10).
The Beast Burger obviously has fewer calories and less fat, especially saturated fat. It also has zero cholesterol and a healthy amount of fiber. The big shockers is that the Beast Burger has 4 more grams of protein than a beef burger. Good news for all you protein lovers!
If you’re wondering about the sodium, keep in mind that the beef burger is just ground beef with no seasoning. Seasoning your burgers will bring that sodium level up.
Hands-down the coolest part of the Beast Burgers is how many vitamins they contain. As a woman, I think about my iron intake, and these burgers have it! They also contain a large amount of calcium and other vitamins that I honestly never think about, but know I need.
Since we’re here, let’s talk a little bit about B12. You’ll notice that the beef burger has a huge amount of B12 in it. Why is that? Cows are ruminants, which means they have a 4 chambered stomach. The first chamber, called the rumen, has a rich supply of bacteria that help to break down food. Some of these bacteria produce B12 in an amount that is sufficient for the cow. So it makes sense that beef is high in B12.
This doesn’t mean that cows themselves product B12. This means that the bacteria in their stomachs produce it and that bacteria can be used to make B12 outside of the animal. Since vegans don’t eat animal products, it’s always great to supplement with B12 or, in this case, purchase products that are fortified with B12. So seeing this high amount of B12 is great news for us!
The only downside of eating the Beast Burger is that it’s more expensive than regular beef (although you may recover that cost with healthcare in the future). While a 1/4 beef burger is going to cost you around 75 cents (hovering around $3 a pound), a single Beast Burger is around $2.50 ($4.99 for a pack of two). This cost differential will decrease if you’re looking at grass fed or sustainably (and, in theory, humanely) raised beef.
You can’t deny that the Beast Burger is a healthy choice if you’re watching what you eat, and an easy transitional item if you’re working on going veg. Pair it with a whole grain bun, a few tomatoes, some caramelized onions, a delicious slice of lettuce and whatever condiment you like and you’ve got yourself a delicious, satisfying burger (I’m sure Matt would appreciate that you should put pickles on it also).
If you guys try any of my plant-based alternatives, feel free to let me know what you think!